Menopause Symptoms: Incontinence
What Causes Incontinence During Menopause?
You don’t have to accept occasional bladder leakage as another side effect of menopause or ageing. In many cases, there are things you can do to stop and even prevent urinary incontinence. We know that no matter how common it may be, having a hyperactive bladder is not only inconvenient its bloody embarrassing! We’re pretty sure Eureka owner Michael still wets the bed occasionally but he never talks about it 😉
Incontinence can wreak havoc on your romantic life, your exercise routine and make good times like a day trip with your girlfriends almost impossible. Don’t worry though, you’re not alone! Urinary incontinence is actually one of the really common menopause symptoms.
There are a load of reasons that you might be experiencing urinary incontinence during menopause.A prolapse is a sagging of organs against your pelvic floor. Some women who have prolapse describe a feeling of a lump in the vagina where an organ is sagging down. That organ may be the uterus, bladder or bowel. Prolapse puts a massive strain on your pelvic floor.
With the onset of menopause, estrogen production is severely restricted or even stopped completely by your body. When this happens, you are more susceptible to incontinence because there isn’t enough estrogen to help keep the tissues around your bladder strong and working well.
You may gain weight during menopause. Since your pelvic floor muscles support much of your body weight, any excess weight puts a further strain on to these muscles, so they cannot support your bladder as they should causing leakage. This is called stress incontinence.
During menopause, your pelvic floor muscles tend to naturally weaken. Weaker muscles can mean that you leak a little when laughing too hard or spend most of your time in the toilet. Treatment for your UI depends on several things, including the type of incontinence you’re experiencing and what is causing your UI. Your doctor might start by suggesting lifestyle changes. For example, they might encourage you to:
- Cut back on your caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Gradually retrain your bladder to hold more urine by only urinating at certain preplanned times of the day.
- Lose weight to reduce the pressure on your bladder and muscles.
- Use Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor exercises, to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
Kegel exercises involve squeezing and relaxing the muscles in your pelvic and genital areas to strengthen them. This may help you develop better bladder control. Your doctor may also recommend more involved treatment options, especially if they don’t think that lifestyle changes are helping.